Crime and Punishment Essay

921 Words Nov 26th, 2010 4 Pages
Crime and Punishment
Rawphina Maynor
Mr. Arata
Saturday AM

Crime and punishment through time has made some dramatic changes. The earliest form of written code is the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, though most of western law comes from Ancient Rome. In 451 BC the Roman Republic issued the Law of the Twelve Tables that constituted the basis of Roman law. Theft and assault were crimes committed against individual and required the victim to prosecute the offender before the appropriate magistrates and an assembly of the citizens. Additions were made over time, new courts were developed during the roman empire and a degree of uniformity was consequently imposed over much of Europe. From the 5th century AD and the great
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In the Middle Ages when religion and belief played a central role in society heresy and witchcraft were considered serious crimes the penalties for said crimes were brutal deaths. Some argue that the biggest change from the middle ages to the 19th century is the shift from interpersonal violence to property crimes.

In the early 19th century as European societies became more secular the perception of criminal offending moved from being a sin prompted by the devil to the responsibility of the offender. Towards the end of the 19th century influenced by a new understanding of evolution a school of criminological thought emerged viewing the criminal less as an individual morally responsible and acting as a result of free will and more as an individual dominated by his or her physiological nature.

The principal mover in this way of thinking was Cesare Lombroso, who claimed to have begun to develop his ideas while serving as a military doctor during the Brigands’ War of the 1860s in the south of Italy, and specifically when he examined the head of a notorious, dead brigand, Giuseppe Vilella. Lombroso constantly refined his notion of the born criminal, as did his successors.

Arrest and policing in the medieval and early modern times was generally up to the victim or victim’s family unless it was a crime against prince or state. In 18th century England horse theft was a common crime so Entrepreneur thief-catchers also established

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